How to Audition and Book the Job: Craft, Confidence and Contribution (The 3 ‘C’s)

July 1st, 2014

How to Audition and Book the Job: Craft, Confidence and Contribution (The 3 ‘C’s)

written by Benson Simmonds

 

As actors we all want to know the secret to giving great auditions and booking more work.

I’d like to begin a series for Daily Actor readers to help you jump start the career of your dreams. So let’s begin by explaining the 3 “C”s of auditioning well.

Of course most of us would agree that we all need to work on our CRAFT, to understand how to personalize the characters we audition for and “make it our own”. That means not going in with an “idea” of who the character is but finding a way to parallel the characters needs with those of your own. As a longtime student of Ivana Chubbuck, I’ve incorporated her techniques with my own to help actors with script analysis. Because you can’t personalize your audition script without knowing how to figure out your character’s objective, meaning what you need from the other character in the scene. But that’s only the beginning and craft, though, essential is often not enough to audition well and book the part.  We need to have CONFIDENCE. Of course confidence comes in part from knowing your craft. But I’ve coached so many actors and students and whether we’re doing an in-person, skype or phone coaching, there were so many times that I could sense the fear in the actors. These were and are good actors who understand their craft. They were and are actors who could easily have a very good film and TV career and even carry playing the lead in a series. But they let their fear get in the way of simply having fun and enjoying their audition. This led me to do a lot of research and it eventually prompted me to write a spiritual handbook called Soular Power which is soon to be published.There’s also a bonus section in my MASTER YOUR AUDITION video called Becoming a Soular Powered Actor.

I believe we all have both an ego and a soul consciousness. Our ego is that drive within us that is based on fear, lack and limitation. Our soul is a drive that is based on infinite joy, love and expansion. The ego is constantly telling us that we’re not enough, that there is never enough and there will never be enough. Sound like a familiar voice inside your head? We also have our soul which is a drive based on infinite joy, love and expansion. The soul tells you that you are enough and celebrates who you are and …this is the important part….how you can CONTRIBUTE.

So the first way to begin to gain confidence at your auditions is to choose to shift into your soular power by focusing on HOW YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE when you walk into the audition room. You ego voice fills you with dread and thoughts of how much you need them to love and approve of you. That need pushes you to fear doing a bad job, forgetting your lines, caring and focusing more on what they think of you than focusing on your character and getting your character’s objective in the scene.

One of the best ways to begin to focus on contribution is look at the audition as a chance to share your craft and have some fun, regardless of what they might think of you. It’s the attitude of “hey, here I am and this is what I worked on and this is what I want to share with you” vs. the ego approach which is “I hope you like me, please tell me I’m a good actor and make me feel like I’m good enough”. The ego approach puts so much pressure on you that it often becomes hard to just go in and have fun.

To help you shift out of ego and into your SOULAR power, use this simple but incredibly powerful tool!

ASK yourself the following question:
WHAT ARE 5 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MYSELF AS ACTOR?  and (What are 5 things I love about myself as a person?)

Just start to have fun and list OUT LOUD the things you LOVE about yourself as an actor.  For example, “I love my sense of humor”, “I love my emotional vulnerability”, “I love my passion”, “I love my ability to be in the moment and work off the reader/casting director”. “I love that I work hard on my craft”. “I love drive and my integrity”. “I love my simplicity”. “I love my great character face”. “I love that I always make strong, personal choices”. “I love that I throw myself 100% into my characters”, etc. etc. etc

By using this powerful tool BEFORE an audition and EVERY DAY, you will begin to know exactly what you CONTRIBUTE when you walk into the audition room. Not only is the exercise lots of fun to do daily but it will start to give you CONFIDENCE when you audition because you will know specifically what you CONTRIBUTE every time you walk into the audition room. By focusing on your gifts, you also connect to your SOULAR POWER, because your soul celebrates your divine gifts as a person and an actor while your ego finds ways to make you feel like you aren’t enough, which YOU ARE! Remember, YOU ARE ENOUGH all the time, before, during and after auditions and in every moment.

Please try this technique and feel free to write me at masteryouraudition@gmail. Also, come to my website (masteryouraudition.com) and register your email to get more FREE VIDEO TIPS AND SECRETS on how to audition your best.

All the best and blessings, BensonBenson-Simmonds

The One Quality Every Actor Needs To Become Success!

June 16th, 2014

The One Quality Every Actor Needs To Become Success!

Yes, there are a few essential qualities that an actor needs to become a star and today we’re going to focus on…. well, let’s just say it’s something permeates every aspect of our culture. It’s everywhere – on billboards, in print, on the streets, in the office, in the home, and of course on TV and film…. did you guess yet?

Yes, it’s sex!  It’s not just that sex sells but as my longtime acting teacher and mentor Ivana Chubbuck taught me, a “star” actor can always find the SEX and the HUMOR in their work.  We’re not talking about looks here, because there are many beautiful people who just aren’t that sexy. If it were just about looks, then every good -looking actor would make it, but they don’t because it’s about much more than that!  Regardless of what you look like as an actor, to be successful you need to be comfortable with your sexuality and comfortable being playful and yes…seductive. I’m not talking about being sleazy or crass or dirty but learning to enjoy and be comfortable flirting and getting someone else to feel sexy and/or getting someone else to find you sexy. Is Jack Nicholson a handsome model type? Uh..no, but he’s played romantic scenes with so many beautiful women. Why? Because he is able to be playfully seductive in a genuine organic way.  Seduction is fun but it needs to be playful otherwise it’s a turn off to the other actor and the audience.

It’s called being able to generate SEXUAL CHEMISTRY or heat in a scene with another actor. Now of course there are many stars who may not be great at seduction, but they have other key qualities necessary to inspire us such as authenticity, depth, humor, passion and likeability. But without understanding how to enjoy your sexual energy it is a lot harder to become a star….or just be able to make all of your money from acting.

I recently came across this video in which John Cusack is being interviewed by a very hot Israeli model for Israeli TV.  Watch this video and then continue reading

Do you notice how freely he flirts with her? Ladies, do you find it sleazy or kind of charming.  Most of the youtube comments indicated the latter. Also notice that CLASSIC GUY move….I remember this one from high school. You know which one? Yup, the one where he asks to get a closer look at the chain she’s wearing around her neck so he can get close to her.  It’s so much fun to watch because they both seem to be having fun being playfully seductive with each other.

Now of course the challenge for an actor is generate that kind of attraction with whoever your co-star is..even if they’re not your type. For the purposes of the play, movie or TV, you need to learn how to make them your type. That’s what I teach the students who study with me and I explain it on my Master Your Audition video. So if you’ve bought the video and have questions, write to me and I’ll try to explain. And if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?

One of the specific ways to generate heat with someone is to start to sexually fantasize about them. Even if they’re not your usual type, imagine that they are really good at doing something that you like or that they’re willing to do something you’ve fantasized about and never done.  Though you can use a substitution in a scene for an emotional connection, you need to use the person right in front of you, i.e. the other actor, for the seduction part , to generate sexual energy.

Another tip is  to take a simple line that seems innocent enough like “I think we should close up shop”. Now in your mind think of a really juicy sexual image for what “closing up shop” is. Just think the thought and then say the line and see how it reads. Be specific. Think of something  sexually exciting that you’d like someone to do to you or something you’d love to do to/with someone else. Then say the line and see how it feels.

So have some fun this week!  Watch yourself or other people at a bar or in public and watch the physical signals we give each other when we’re attracted to one another. It’s often subconscious body language, but as actors we need to program that subconscious behavior in our work.

So have some fun this week and be little bit of a flirt..even if it’s just in front of the  mirror or …..the cat!?

written by Benson Simmonds

How To Feel Confident And Give Great Auditions

June 1st, 2014

HOW TO GIVE GREAT AUDITIONS BY CHANGING YOUR FOCUS!

Hello fellow actors!

I’m thrilled to be able to share my years of experience as an on-set and stage actor and over 15 years of teaching and coaching actors. Some of the topics I’d like to cover include; how to have sexual chemistry at auditions and on set, the secret to playing bad guys, cops, lawyers, FBI, judges and prostitutes; how to break down audition scripts; how to get more depth and vulnerability as an actor and much, much more!Benson-Simmonds

For my first column I’d like to address:

How to feel confident and have a great time at your auditions.
The incredible technique I’m going to share with you is based on the work of Jerry and Esther Hicks, who introduced the secrets of the law of attraction years before the huge success of the video and book, The Secret.

According to Esther and Jerry Hicks we are always either focusing on what we want or what we don’t want. When you’re unhappy, nervous, angry, etc it’s usually because you are focusing on what you don’t want. “I don’t want to be lonely, I don’t want to have so few auditions, I don’t want to be poor”, etc. The secret to shifting your mood in general and specifically when you audition is to focus on what you do want and how you DO want to FEEL at your auditions and on set.

So here’s a simple process for preparing for an audition:

First, imagine yourself on the way to an audition for a part you really want. try to focus on how you are feeling.

FOCUS ON HOW YOU ARE FEELING
Usually if you’re honest, you’ll say, for example…I feel nervous, I feel excited. I feel anxious. I feel like I’m not even right for this role. I feel unprepared, etc.

THEN ASK YOUR SELF WHAT DON’T YOU WANT TO HAPPEN AT YOUR AUDITION
This is what we’re usually focusing on subconsciously and completely unaware of.
For example, most actors are thinking…

I don’t want to screw up my audition,

I don’t want to forget my lines,

I don’t want them to think I suck,

I don’t want to embarrass myself,

I don’t want to be nervous.

I don’t want to be intimidated by other actors or the casting director.

According to the law of attraction, the universe does not differentiate between what you want and what you don’t want. The universe does not hear the yes or no in your statements or focus. It just hears what you are focusing on. So if you walk into an audition thinking, “I don’t want to forget my lines”, you end up attracting “I don’t want to forget my lines”, and you know what? You’ll probably forget some of your lines. So what should you consciously focus on? In this case you’d say to yourself “I want to FEEL like my lines just flow easily. I want to feel confident that I’ve got my lines down”

So what’s the key to having a great audition using this system?

Start focus on what you DO WANT YOU HAPPEN and HOW YOU DO WANT TO FEEL

WHAT YOU DO WANT TO HAPPEN
I want to have a great audition.
I want them to love me and think I’m amazing.
I want to nail this character and be open and vulnerable and confident.

I want to have my best audition ever.

Now on to the MOST IMPORTANT step – Focusing on how you want to FEEL at your audition. Here are some suggestions.

I want to FEEL confident and inspired.

I want to FEEL like I’ve got the part before I ever walk into the audition room.

I want to feel like God himself/herself is walking in with me into the audition room and telling them to hire me.

I want to FEEL like the casting director and director are going to fight over who gets to compliment me first

I want to FEEL like the casting director is going to take one look at me and say, “you’re amazing. Let me go out there and tell the other actors to leave because YOU’VE GOT THE PART”

I want to FEEL playful and open and vulnerable and have a GREAT time

I want to FEEL like a million bucks.

I want to FEEL like I look incredible, handsome, beautiful sexy.

I want to FEEL like the casting director and director will need to wear sunglasses because my talent will shine so bright

I want to FEEL like I don’t give a shit what people think about me in and outside the audition room

I want to feel free to express myself and take risks.

I want to feel focused, and in the moment.

I want to feel like I am the character I’m auditioning for when I’m in the audition room.

These are some of my suggestions but feel free to make up lots of your own.

The idea is to have as much FUN as possible when you are saying OUT LOUD how you want to feel at your auditions and on set. You need to say them for at least a minute to begin to shift your mood. If you can get into the habit of doing these “I want to FEEL’ statements every day for 5 minutes, then you’ll see how incredibly effective they will be at your next audition. Even if you haven’t had auditions lately, you’ll start attracting auditions just by consistently focusing on how you want your auditions to go and how you want to FEEL at your auditions.

Try these tools and let me know how they work for you. Remember to have fun and do them consistently.

Go forth with confidence and have FUN!

Also, remember to let the audition go once you’ve left the room. You have no control over whether or not you will be hired, but you do have control over how you FEEL when you audition!

Here’s one last important tip. If you are always waiting an external circumstance like an audition or booking a part to make you happy, you will never be happy.

Focus instead on your internal state. Focus on being happy and then you will attract the things that make you happy.

Benson Simmonds is an award-winning actor, acting teacher, coach and short filmmaker. His YouTube mini lectures series on acting continues to receive thousands of hits and inspires actors all over the world. Benson is currently working as an actor in LA and also teaches acting classes and coaches one on one.

To view Benson’s YouTube lectures on acting, click below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06WUiSxiuv

To view some of Benson’s award-winning acting work (including his short , Applaud or Die) click here.

Memorization and Training Apps

October 31st, 2013

Memorization and Training Apps

Memorization can be tedious when it comes to learning your lines. And it can be hard to find someone to go over the other lines with you. Alexia Robinson Studios recognizes that if you want to be the best, you have to be able to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

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There are plenty of costly tools out there to supplement your acting classes, but lets face it, acting classes can already be pricey for those trying to get their careers going. Who has all this extra cash to be throwing at training tools on top of classes and coaches?

Alexia Robinson Studios has you covered. We have compiled a brief list of apps that barely scrape the surface of all the amazing Actor Freebies that are available to you.

Actsophia: A comprehensive app available in the iTunes App store that covers everything acting. I mean, EVERYTHING. It has training tips, submission tips, audition tips, performance tips, career tips, and networking tips. Oh, and did I mention it is FREE!

Scene Partner: Interactive rehearsing available at your finger tips with text-to-speech software. This free app allows you to record yourself and others in order to get the most out of your practice time.

Rehearsal 2: Another tool that uses text-to-speech software. Rehearsal 2 lets you select portions or the whole part of the script to practice, as well as offer you games and different methods to learning your lines. One of the pricier apps at $19.99, this app lets you use a multitude of features.

SpeakEasy Voice Recorder: For $1.99 this simple application is a must have for many actors. It records higher voice quality and is easy to use. This app is mainly used to record and play back lines for quick memorization and critiques.

A simple search in your smartphone or on the web will lead you to tons of free stuff to help you learn your lines and work on being a better actor. Don’t be afraid to do a little research.

Managing The Holiday Season

December 14th, 2011

By F. John  Reh

Does it seem like everyone around you is getting into the Holidays, but you are too busy to join in? Do you feel like you are the only one doing any work anymore. Would you like some help getting through the Holiday season?

Concentrate on what is important

The first rule of getting through the year end craze, without seeming like Ebenezer Scrooge and without losing your mind, is to concentrate your efforts on the important tasks.

What really has to be done? Do you have production deadlines to meet. What customer satisfaction issues require attention? Does a specific project need to be completed this year or would you get more creative work if it slips into January?

Focus your management effort on those things that have to get done this year. Encourage as much production as you can get, but make sure you are applying that effort to the issues where it will make a difference. This is a classic case of the 80/20 rule.

Make last minute fiscal “adjustments”

Think about your financials. Should you accelerate income for this year to meet stakeholder expectations, or should you defer it into next year to reduce taxable income for this year. You plan your financials all year long, but this is your last chance to “buff them up”.

Plan and budget

If you haven’t already done your planning and prepared your budgets for next year you had better get busy.  It’s hard, especially in smaller companies, to take time away from more immediate issues in order to deal with planning, but it is essential.

If your budget planning cycle is done already, this is still a good time to review your plan. Have your secretary block out all your appointments for half an hour and just sit and think. Are we heading in the right direction? Do we know how to get there?

Reflect on the good things

This is also a great time to think back on all the good things you have accomplished this year. Take the time to congratulate yourself for these successes, whether they are financial successes or inter-personal successes.

Reward Key Employees

This is also another good time to recognize key employees and reward them for their contributions during the past year. Remember, that the behaviors and accomplishments for which you reward these employees are the behaviors you are encouraging for all your employees for next year.

If you pay holiday bonuses to the employees with the highest production you encourage everybody to produce. If you acknowledge those with the fewest errors, people will focus next year on reducing their errors. And if you praise the employees who excelled at customer service,… well you get the idea.

Thank all employees

Finally, thank all your employees. They all contributed in some measure to your success. Depending on your position in the organization, and your budget, this recognition may vary. It can be a hand-written note, a small gift, or a company party.

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